Volume 2, Number 7 - April 13, 2007

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300



In Queue circulation 19,019
NACC members 3,523
Job Board Listings 28

In This Issue
What's in a Name? Part II
Who Called You Today?
Survey of a Survey

Share the Knowledge

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There is an evil tendency underlying all our technology - the tendency to do what is reasonable even when it isn't any good.
-Robert Pirsig-author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance



Call Center Week is the largest case study driven call enter event in the marketplace!

Fun Facts

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on 12 March 2007, statewide call centers grew in South Dakota from 38 businesses and 6760 employees in 1995 to 63 businesses and 9,637 workers today.

Picture of the Week

This is a picture of a house being torn down in my neighborhood. Though the house was not great, the cost of fixing it up is clearly less than that of tearing down and building a new one. However, sometimes it is necessary to wipe the slate clean and start anew with ideas and a new building to meet a particular need. The question I like to ask is do we need to just fix up the call center industry or do we need to wipe the slate clean, tear down existing ideas, and start over from the beginning with newer, fresher, and better ideas?


To advertise in In Queue or with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
Tel: 601.447.8300


What's in a Name? Part II

In the volume 1, issue 7 of In Queue (December 8, 2006), in an essay titled "The Importance of Acronyms" I highlighted the importance of creating a good acronym using the NACC as an example of a not-so-good acronym by listing eight other organizations with the same initials. Well, the list continues to grow. Below you will see other organizations that have different names, but the same initials, as the National Association of Call Centers.

Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce
Northborough Area Community Chorus
North American, Central American, and Caribbean Office
National Angus Carcass Challenge
National Association for Colitus and Crohn's Disease
Narayani Christian Council
nucleus accumbens
North American Competitiveness Council
National Action Cultural Committee
Northwest Arkansas Community College
National Association of Care Caterers
Northern Arts and Cultural Centre
Northern Agricultural Catchment Council
Niagara Arts and Cultural Center
National Anti Corruption Commission
Northampton Community College
North Atlantic Cigarette Company, Inc.
Native American Cultural Center

Imagine the email and calls we receive based on the list above who get our organizations confused.

Analyst's Perspective

Who Called You Today?

By Richard Snow - Richard.Snow@ventanaresearch.com

Despite enormous efforts to persuade people otherwise, it is clear from research recently completed by Ventana Research that the preferred method of interacting with companies is still over the phone. Companies have gone to a lot of effort, and not insignificant cost, to enable email, fax and postal mail in their contact centers but generally speaking volumes through these channels are less than 10 percent of phone calls. This lack of seriousness is reflected in the same research which showed that measuring how quickly companies respond to these types of interactions is at the bottom of the list of companies’ priorities. The web has faired better. Consumers have gradually taken to using the web not just to look up information but to seriously transact business. This is good news for companies as it is much cheaper for them and in theory it should reduce the number of calls into the contact center.

But the number of calls doesn’t seem to be going down, so the question is “why not?” We believe that at the heart of the issue is that companies really don’t know who is calling them and why. A typical solution is to buy a contact management system or a customer relation management (CRM) system with embodied contact management. As customers call, the call is classified and logged in the chosen system where they are subsequently analysed to produce a picture of who called and why. But the process is flawed with inaccuracies, is after the event, and can at best only show part of the picture. The largest missing element is the use of call records. When companies are looking to close their books and improve financial performance, they use all their financial transactions. When they want to improve their supply chain process, they use all product and order transactions. Yet when they are trying to improve customer relationships, the largest volume of transactions – calls – go largely unused.

The issue is twofold. Firstly it has been expensive to record and store recorded calls. However new compression techniques embedded in systems from companies such as Envision [see ad in this newsletter-DB], Nice, and Witness now make it possible to record all calls without costs going through the roof. Secondly, because of the unstructured nature of calls it has largely been a time consuming, expensive manual process to analyse their content. The net result is that most companies have only recorded a small percentage of calls and have used an even smaller percent to judge agent performance, missing out on the wealth of customer information contained within the recordings. Again this no longer needs to be the case. Companies such as Cisco, in conjunction with their partner eLoyalty, Nice, and Verint have developed sophisticated systems that can automatically analyse the content of calls and provide a rich analysis of not just their content but also about customer behaviour. The content can reveal the “who and why”, while techniques such as analysing pitch and tone can give a much better picture of real levels of customer satisfaction. Add to these root cause, behavioural and predictive analysis and companies can at last get a true picture of what they are doing correctly and incorrectly, and how customers are likely to behave in the future.

By combining these results with data from web usage, CRM and ERP transactions, and other sources of data, these developments herald the possibility of at last producing a full 360-degree view of the customer and the required insights to develop the processes to bring about true customer relationship management.

Survey of a Survey

A big "Thank You" to all of you who responded in a very positive and enthusiastic manner to the idea of the NACC taking the lead to have an industry wide, neutral, unbiased survey for the industry to allow everyone to understand where the industry is heading without having to worry about a company performing a survey with ulterior motives. Keep reading for more updates as the project moves forward.

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Copyright 2007 National Association of Call Centers